North joins South in fight against dengue fever


TAIPEI, Taiwan — As two epidemic-command centers were established Thursday, Oct. 21, to combat dengue fever in southern Taiwan, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) also drew attention to a new case in Taipei County and put the North on alert against the disease.

A 72-year-old male from Wugu Township this week became the third confirmed case of indigenous dengue fever in Taipei this year. Acknowledging that this number was yet small, CDC Deputy Director-General Ting Lin said that many more as-yet unidentified cases might come to light.

The elderly patient had not visited the South nor been abroad, but he had lived close to two patients found to be infected with dengue fever after returning from a trip to Cambodia in late August.

“We have reasons to believe that this is the result of a cluster infection, and suspect that the elderly patient is not the only indigenous dengue patient living in Wugu,” said Lin, explaining that other people might experience only minor symptoms and not seek treatment.

Department of Health (DOH) officials immediately disinfected the patient’s surroundings, mobilized volunteers to clean up possible mosquito-breeding sites, and set up a dengue-screening station locally to provide free blood tests.

Lin said that dengue cases hit a record high this week, with 156 cases nationwide, 139 of them in the southern cities of Kaohsiung and Tainan. Nevertheless, he warned residents in the North not to lower their guard toward possible infection.